my electric meter has been changed

good morning, i perhaps should have posted this on consumerwatch, i just wanted advice, as none of my friends use pre-payed electric meters, so would be very grateful of your thoughts. the story:
i moved into this flat about 6 years ago it had a pre-payed electric meter installed, which i keep meaning to change but it is nice not having a bill. my first day off in the month i take a credit card type plastic device to the supermarket, pay £40, in return i get four 'willie wonker' type paper tokens which i enter into my meter. simple.
every year they do something to the meter that makes it a little more hungry, fair enough.
2 years ago i had a letter stating they would be calling to replace my meter with a new one as the paper tokens were being phased out. they gave me a day and a twelve hour 'window' of between eight in the morning and eight in the evening.
i booked the day from work and arranged for my snooker table to be collected by cancer research and a dining table to replace the snooker table. i also ordered some pc parts from novatech. everything went smoothly, except the man from british gas never showed, i called them and they said he couldnt find me? and i would have to book another twelve hour window, i told them to put their meter somewhere unpleasant.
three weeks ago i had a letter, the only contact from british gas since that day, telling me i would be visited by a bailiff and a lock smith who would install my new meter. i called them asked if this or sitting around for twelve hours were the only options i had, low and behold they arranged a three hour window.
man arrived fitted new meter and transfered my £23.98 credit to the new meter. this was on the 6th. i came back from london yesterday and the meter was showing £8.12? all that had been on were a fridge freezer, a fridge and my fish tank pump? i turned on my pc and my heater and within an hour i was down to under £5. i have called them and they say the meters are preset and this is due to rising so on so on...
by my reconing thats 500% increase and my electric costs for a 1 bed flat would be £40 a week? does this sound right? can i call n power and ask them, am i tied to british gas, i have never signed anything.
sorry if it went on a bit, thanks as always for your time.

  crosstrainer 09:26 10 Feb 2008

Electric meters levy a the highest tariff per unit. My next door neighbour had some difficulties several years ago, and was forced to adopt the "pay as you go" method.

He has now had a standard meter installed, and his bill has reduced by 28%.

If you have no arrears, I would contact British Gas and insist that they install a new meter (your right by law) Direct debit payment (monthly or quarterly) gives a further discount.

hi and thanks, i should have added when i moved in i got change from £10 a month. i will try that as this seems a little much, it looks to me as the small easy target is being screwed over a little, your neighbour had problems so they upped his charge by 28%? thanks guys! i rent the flat so will ask my landlord his thoughts as even after 6 years i concider this very temporary and dont have to give any leaving notice. he may have fitted the pre-pay meter after paying previous tenants outstanding bills.
thanks again.

  Forum Editor 09:34 10 Feb 2008

Get rid of the pre-pay meter as soon as possible.

mornin boss, i wonder why? they dont have to send you any bill, so surely this should be cheaper? something doesnt ring right? i worked with centrica who own BG till a year ago i shall be sending them a letter with my thoughts i think.

  crosstrainer 09:46 10 Feb 2008

The reason they charge these high rates, is that they have to pay a commision to the retail outlets who recharge your key. Bin it asap :)

  birdface 09:56 10 Feb 2008

You don't know how lucky you are being able to contact British Gas It is usually a nightmare and when you do get a hold of them you are passed from one place to another and finish up back where you started from.Get them to put a dry meter in so you pay your bills quarterly.And as soon as you get the meter changed,change your supplier.Don't put up with bad service,

well i nearly wore out the keypad on my phone to speak with someone at british gas. i never thought about the retailers, i always assumed people paying over the odds was because they owed money so the supplier added what they owed to the unit cost. thanks for the replies at the end of the day im not happy with a company i have paid thousands of pounds to so i will change!
thanks again
adam

  red3 10:10 10 Feb 2008

moring m8,ive been there in teh past its not happy days,i think the problem is that when they had access to the monster meter they increase the tariff by whatever fold they desire, i found that these meters although to the eye of the beholder seem the best way to "manage" your money are in fact a nasty contradiction to say the least,you are charged more as these machines cost the earth & the service provider you are using WILL & HAS been charging you a kinda "Rental" for the machine,you might not see it when u pop a fiver in as you will see the fiver's worth of credit come on the screen BUT its pre-set to take the money of MUCH faster pending on how much money u owe them or the increase of there tariff's,there just nasty i find it hard to belive that these machines do the total opposite & charge people more than having a normal bill,people on low incomes or credit status or even people that want to keep a eye on there out goining's use these machines, but in turn they take more money & can be embarrassing going to the local supermarket asking for a "Lecky token"..
hope this helps
MORNING FE!!

hmmm, landlord says i can do what i like, as long as there is a prepay meter when i leave. nothings ever simple!

  birdface 10:26 10 Feb 2008

Googled this one there are lots to choose from.click here I would imagine having a prepayment meter should not make any difference if you move suppliers,But worth a look anyway just to see if you can get it any cheaper.

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